Rock Isle Mulwala – Country Radio

Rock Isle Mulwala – Country Radio
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After the success of the first Sunbury in January 1972, a festival was organised just 2 months later for the Easter weekend in Mulwala, just north of the Victorian border in New South Wales.

Hoping to attract a big turnout, the organisers located the festival roughly equidistant between Sydney and Melbourne. But a lack of advertising, poor organisation and extremely inclement weather (the third day was completely washed out) led to the festival being largely forgotten. 

Even though there were two successful overseas bands (Canned Heat, Stephen Stills and Manassas) along with a great range of Australian acts (including Chain, Carson, Russell Morris and The Aztecs), nobody seemed to enjoy the experience.

According to Greg Quill from Country Radio, the two overseas bands 'were given star treatment and didn’t fraternise with the local talent'. They were also paid $35,000 each, a massive amount in 1972. This led to the organisers going broke and the rest of the bands possibly not getting paid. 

Even with these impediments, Mulwala still featured some very strong performances.

By all accounts, the local boogie band, Carson, blew the overseas boogie band, Canned Heat, off the stage!

It was also an important festival for Russell Morris, who was moving away from his pop idol persona to the singer-songwriter phase of his career, with songs like ‘Sweet Sweet Love’ and ‘Wings of an Eagle’.

Another band who flourished were Country Radio – one of Australia’s earliest country rock bands, they were a constant presence on the festival and pub circuit in the early 1970s.

They were regarded as one of the highlights of Mulwala, as this recorded performance of their anthemic single ‘Listen to the Children’ attests. The recording captures the band at their peak and effectively highlights their on-stage power.